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In the News: A Crescent of Chaos

Joined: 3/31/2013
Posts: 4
On December 17, 2010, a 26-year-old Tunisian man set himself on fire, after his produce cart, the sole income for his family of eight, was confiscated. His actions, first appearing as nothing more than the frustrations of a dissatisfied man, catalyzed revolutions in more than ten different countries, the deaths of almost 100,000, and worldwide chaos. These series of revolutions, collectively referred to as the “Arab Spring,” have been ongoing for two years and are still occurring in some areas, having spread to most of the Middle East, including the historically named “Fertile Crescent.” One of the bloodiest revolutions, still occurring today, is that of Syria.
The Syrian Civil War began in early 2011 when activists in Damascus demanded civil liberties and economic prosperity from the elite Syrian regime, led by president Assad. Security forces responded by killing several protestors, but the rebellion spread, with uprisings throughout the country. The government was forced to make some concessions, but the protestors were not satisfied, especially because many people were violently beaten. In the middle of 2011, the Syrian government launched official military operations against the rebellions. As fighting declined in early 2012, there were thoughts of establishing a peace, but violence broke out again, and all thought of ending the civil war vanished. Rebel fighting continues up to this day.
The United States has been conflicted in whether or not to offer assistance, and if so, which side to support. No official statements have been declared, though it is clear that the US disapproves of the massive use of violence and supports political freedom. The Obama administration, however, does not view intervention as necessary or justifiable.
The main problem is that the Syrian Civil War is not being resolved, and more and more people are dying everyday. As of February 2013, about 70,000 people have been killed, half of which are civilians. 1 million Syrians have fled the country, to escape death or torture. Additionally, the Syrian government is rumored to possess chemical weapons, stores of mustard gas, and nerve agents, usable against civilians. Chemical weapons would complicate issues, as they require decontamination areas and lots of treatment. Obama himself has stated that the use of chemical weapons would change the US’s stand on intervention.
This issue is often discussed in the news, but most teens and college students do not know much about the actual details or what is at stake. More people should care about the Syrian Civil War because of its effects; so many innocent people, who have no control over their lives and were just unlucky to be born in Syria around this time, have been brutally hurt, with other countries not even caring about them.
There is not much that we can personally do to help the situation, but spreading awareness of this is one of the first things we can do. Increasing knowledge of all the troubles that the people are facing is the first step, and, hopefully, the issue will soon be resolved.
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